The jersey number retirement debate is back on thanks to a blog post by Greg Eno.
Chris Osgood is my all-time favorite goalie. I wouldn’t complain if his number were raised. I just don’t believe in the idea enough to push for it.
Raising Osgood’s number starts the Wings on a slippery slope. If #30 goes up, why not #18 and #25 and #33 and #96? Igor Larionov‘s #8? #14 and #91 and #24?
I’m wondering if a semi-retired state needs to exist. Something less than retired but more than the “honored” status that the Toronto Maple Leafs use. The Leafs have strict rules for retiring a player’s number but they will hang banners to honor a player while leaving his number in circulation.
My version of an honored number would be one mostly kept out of circulation by the Wings not assigning it to any of their prospects as they come onto the team. It would technically be available if the Wings wanted to give it to someone but the player would have to have earned the number first.
I just see this as one way of respecting the team’s history without lowering the standard required to have a number retired. Osgood and the rest of the core of this dynasty deserve recognition but not one reserved for players that are among the best of all time.